Abu Dhabi: Former Formula One driver David Coulthard has said he feels ‘uncomfortable’ watching his good friend, McLaren’s Jenson Button, being left in limbo about his future.
Rumours abound that Button will be replaced at McLaren by Fernando Alonso next season, the Spaniard having confirmed his departure from Ferrari on Thursday.
Yet there has been no official confirmation from McLaren about this, leaving Button’s future shrouded in uncertainty ahead of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.
Many media here for the final grand prix of the season, including The Guardian’s Paul Weaver, have lashed out at McLaren for their ‘disgraceful’ treatment of one of the most popular drivers on the grid.
Speaking to Gulf News on Friday at Yas Marina Circuit, the venue for the Abu Dhabi GP, BBC Television pundit Coulthard said: “Disgraceful is a very strong word. But this is clearly disappointing for the many fans of Jenson. It’s been uncomfortable watching Jenson go through the uncertainty of ‘this is my last year, this is my last race’.”
He added: “McLaren, like any business, have the right to run the company the way they want to and I’d never criticise a company for doing that. That said, I think you cannot not acknowledge that Jenson is held in high affection by the motor-racing public and this is such a racing driver-driven sport. Manufacturers are all very interesting, but we all know the public get behind individuals.
“We all know this is negative media for McLaren right now, but maybe out of that there will be an announcement that it will be Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, who knows?”